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Governor vetoes bill over concerns with Jackson city ordinances

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

Capitol Police

(Photo from the MS Dept. of Public Safety Facebook)

  • Senator Fillingane said he and other lawmakers shared similar concerns during session deliberations.

Late Friday afternoon, Governor Tate Reeves announced that he had vetoed SB 2180 over concerns related to the Capitol Police enforcing certain Jackson ordinances inside the Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID).

“Today I vetoed SB2180, an ‘act to amend Section 45-1-19 to require the Department (of Public Safety) to enforce any city ordinance’ of the city of Jackson, among other things,” Reeves shared on social media. 

The Governor outlined his reasoning by saying the Capitol Police has been a lifeline for law and order in the state’s capital city. While there is a compelling state interest to ensure the citizens of Jackson have a safe living environment, Reeves said the Capitol Police was created to focus on the enforcement of state criminal laws. 

“Any time or attention – from an already under-resourced police force – on dealing with city ordinances (of which there are hundreds and none of which have been contemplated, much less approved, by the State) and code enforcement is an unnecessary diversion of personnel from their mission of finding and arresting the criminals,” the Governor said. 

Reeves shared two examples of Jackson city ordinances the Capitol Police might be forced to “enforce” should SB 2180 become law: 86-193 and 86-194. 

“The Department of Justice under then-President Trump believed that Jackson was considered a sanctuary city because these ‘ordinances’ were adopted,” Reeves said. “Ordinance 86-193 states that ‘any law enforcement officer shall not exercise differential treatment of an individual in rendering police services based on a person’s… immigration status.’”

As for Ordinance 86-194, Governor Reeves said it states “a police officer shall not solicit information concerning immigration status for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with federal immigration law.”

“I believe, if this bill were to become law, the Capitol Police could not assist ICE in deporting illegal aliens that live in this community,” Reeves explained. “Given the crisis at our southern border caused by the Biden Administration and the heinous crimes that have been committed in our state (and beyond) by Illegals in recent weeks and months, that is a risk I am not willing to take. Therefore, I vetoed SB 2180.”

State Senator Joey Fillingane, the bill’s author, told Magnolia Tribune that he understood why Governor Reeves took issue with the bill after reading the fine print. Fillingane said he and other lawmakers shared similar concerns during session deliberations.

“The veto message highlights our concerns with those municipal ordinances, for sure,” Fillingane said. 

Senator Fillingane noted that the intent of the bill was to provide an additional resource for citizens who may need assistance when Jackson Police could not readily respond. Such examples could include loitering or other nuisances law enforcement is often called upon to address. 

“So, we’ll work together and come back next year to try and find a way to continue to address crime in Jackson,” Fillingane said.

The bill also included authorization for an additional full-time and part-time judge within the CCID. There is only one judge at this time.

Governor Reeves’ veto of the bill also nixes the additional judicial assistance for now, another reason Fillingane believes the issue will come back before the Legislature in 2025. 

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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